A diagnosis of heart failure can be unsettling, however, Dr. Nasrien Ibrahim reminds us that it is treatable and there are treatments that can help patients feel better and live a fuller, active life. Ibrahim recently spoken on an episode of the Heart Failure Beat Healthy Living podcast on an important topic related to the treatment of heart failure: emotional wellness. Listen to the episode and keep reading to explore some highlights from the episode. 

When facing a challenging disease like heart failure, it’s very important for a person to be in a good place mentally and emotionally, so they are equipped to handle things like anxiety and depression. 

Tips for a patient:

  • Be open and honest with the members of your care team and your support system. Share your feelings and concerns with them. 
  • Actively participate in your treatment plan. 
  • Work with your team but leave the stress and anxiety of heart failure to your care team
  • Ask questions 
  • Take part in virtual visits if you’re unable to see your care team in person
  • If you aren’t feeling well, let your care team members know. If they request that you go into the office, it’s critical that you do. Trust that institutions are safe, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What can a patient do to take care of their emotional health? Tips from Dr. Ibrahim: 

  • Meditation: Make meditation a part of your daily routine. Even just five minutes of medication can help with sleep and anxiety – and it’s free! Resources: Apps like Headspace and Calm; Playlists on YouTube, Spotify, etc. 
  • Listen to the experts: Access content that is already available and often free including this webinar by HFSA and this podcast.
  • Exercise and stay active: Many gyms remain closed but there are plenty of ways to stay active outside of the gym. You can search the internet for home-based exercises, contact cardiac rehabilitation centers to inquire if they have virtual programs, or even simply go outside (wearing a mask; socially distanced) and talk a walk in the sunshine.
  • Connect with friends and loved ones: Find a safe way to connect with other people virtually or in person. It’s important to keep your support system close and involved.
  • Continue to take medications and connect with your physicians.

Don’t forget about the caregivers!

Caregivers are an essential part of the treatment plan. In order to help their loved ones, it’s important that they also take care of their emotional well-being. Here are a few tips for the caregivers:  

  • Find hobbies and outlet activities: Hobbies and outlets can help caregivers disconnect from their role as a caregiver, which can be demanding.  
  • Find “me” time: A caregiver’s mental health and emotional well-being is just as important as the ways they take care of their loved one. Setting aside “me” time is necessary. 

Additional Resources

Heart Failure Awareness 365 Logo

In June, HFSA365 explored the emotional side of living with heart failure. Look below for a summary of resources shared to help patients and their caregivers manage feelings from initial diagnosis to daily life.

Visit the HFSA Patient Hub to explore tools and resources to help patients stay healthy while living with heart failure. 

View Heart Failure Awareness 365 activities to stay up-to-date on tips for healthy living for people living with heart failure.